Countdown to Supercross: Yamaha
Visiting the Yamaha track last week, it was pretty much a full house, with riders from the N-Fab Ti Lube Yamaha team (Chris Blose), Velocity3 Racing (Robert Kiniry and Kyle Chisholm), Valli Yamaha (Travis Baker) and Star Racing (Jeremy Martin and Ryan Morais). We grabbed a quick interview with Ryan (see below), and some photos with the rest of the crew.
Vital MX: Most team managers have one role; you’ve got a couple different roles going on here.
Ryan Morais: Yeah, team manager and then I help do testing on the bike. Brad, our motor guy, comes up with stuff and we come out and I run through it. We tried kind of eliminating some stuff to let the guys focus on riding and training. And then we put a couple packages together and approached the riders with it and let them ride and kind of figure out what they’re thinking. It just shortens the process of everything for those guys and they’re able to ride and train and do what they need to do in order to be ready for when the Supercross series starts.
When you decided no more racing, were you ready to finally let it go? We've seen in the past with others where it's a struggle to make that decision.
Yeah. It was kind of a long thinking process. I wasn’t sure. When I filled in for manager during Outdoors it was just to kind of see what I thought of it. I had a few months to kind of think and figure out what I wanted to do. Bobby (Regan, owner of Star Racing) approached me with this and it was just a really good opportunity for me to build a future doing something else and move on and be able to extend my knowledge and everything I’ve learned as a racer to other kids, and just build a solid future for me and make sure I’m able to take care of my family and still be involved, which is really cool. I get to ride a good bike and have fun still so it’s a cool job. I’m super happy with it and super thankful that Bobby gave me this opportunity. Our team is awesome right now. Our two mechanics, Scotty and Sean, and then Brad our motor guy, we all get along so good. Everything just goes together really easy. So it’s been a really fun off-season so far.
It probably helps probably that the size of the team has been trimmed back a little bit. Last year there were some races where it was really full under the tent.
Yeah, there were Nationals we had seven and then eight at some, so we definitely trimmed way down. It’s a really good program that I’m really excited to be a part of. Something that I would have loved to be a part of when I was racing, just to be able to be the only Lites guy on that coast. So you get a lot of attention on you and we’re really able to focus on one rider at a time and give them the best stuff that we can. Not really worried about like, “Well we can’t put that in that practice bike because we can’t supply it for all five guys.” It’s a really, really good program that I think is going to pay off really good this year.
What are the expectations for the guys this year?
For Kyle (Cunningham), I expect him to be on the podium at races and up there up front winning heat races. I truly believe he can win races. With our equipment that we’ve got this year, with Brad, the development side that we’ve changed this year, and then Ross (Maeda) with Enzo with their new air forks and stuff like that, the bike is really, really good. I think Kyle could be a threat. That’s the plan. And then Jeremy (Martin), just get him through the first couple rounds up there in the top five, is where I think he can be. And then I think he truly can be on the podium too by the end of the East Coast Series. The kid’s got a lot of heart and definitely doesn’t lack the effort, so it’s really cool to see someone as young as him have the drive that he has. That is pretty cool.
Do you think guys take advice from you a little better because you have been there, done that?
Yeah, I think. I have a hard time telling people, “You need to do this.” That’s just not the way I am. But I’ve kind of learned to tell them when I see something that I really think can help them then I’ll tell them. But they’ve all been really, really good to listen to me. Even Kyle; Kyle has been doing it for a long time and he takes my advice and tries it. So, it’s really cool. And same with Jeremy. I’m excited for what we have and where everything’s going. With the young kids we have coming up… I’m going to be here for two years and we already pretty much have our ’14 lineup. It’s cool just having all these young kids and being able to just talk to them and see what they’re thinking and kind of fill them in with what I’ve learned. It’s cool. It’s nice. I wish I would have had something like this for sure coming up.
I was curious if you wished you’d had that kind of stuff going through the ranks…
Yeah. I always had Larry Brooks who was really close to me coming up through the ranks and gave me a lot of advice and helped me out a lot. But it’s really cool to be able to come out and ride with these guys and kind of see if I have a little bit for them - which I don’t really have too much anymore, but I guess that’s what happens when you only ride two days a month. But it’s super cool and I just think it’s a really cool program. I think a lot of people are going to realize that this year and it’s going to turn everything around for us.